We Americans are ranked number 72 in cell phones per capita on a world scale. While that’s far behind the world’s leader The United Arab Emirates, 85 percent of Americans now have cell phones. This technological innovation has made it easier to communicate with each other, but for some, this means using the phone while driving. This behavior have transformed a small percentage of people who can’t drive with social responsibility, to a majority of socially irresponsible drivers, which threatens the well-being of all of us.
The biggest issue with cell phones and driving is texting. We see far too much texting and driving in our day-to-day lives. Texting drivers are easy to spot; they are the ones doing 40 mph in a 65 mph zone. Or they are the ones who obliviously encroach the lanes of others while they have both thumbs on their tiny keyboards instead of the steering wheel. According to the National Safety Council 23 percent of all crashes are due to cell phones, translating into 1.6 million cell phone car crashes per year. By conservative estimations, cell phones and texting while driving accounts for more than 5000 deaths per year.
The irony is that while half of the country is crying for gun control as an end-all solution for all violence, we don’t hear a quarter as much calling for a solution to the 5000 dead from irresponsible use of cell phones behind the wheel. While we may not all agree on gun control, I would think the majority of Americans believe wounding and/or killing someone through cell phone use is not okay.
The mathematical argument for banning the dangerous, (guns, alcohol, and drugs), would clearly dictate the banning of cell phones. We are assaulting each other over all the 4 million plus miles of roads contained within our borders.
The key though to both issues isn’t finding more laws because laws do not prevent people from doing wrong. Many states have laws against using cell phones while driving, yet the behavior persists as if it were jaywalking. Evil people will do harm to others, with or without guns regardless of the law. The key is social responsibility. Over 300 million Americans expect to coexist having the freedom to do as we please while at the same time not imposing on others. In the cell phone and driving issue, the hindrance of others can be minimized by the simple use of Bluetooth technology. Hands-free voice software is part of all phone operating systems, but is only utilized by a small percentage of more socially responsible drivers. Government and laws did not create those technology, but other Americans just trying to coexist.
We have become a society more and more dependent on government to take care of our lives because a growing number among us have abdicated responsibility for our destiny–a trend in complete conflict with the legacy of the pioneering Americans who built this country. The weak link in this country isn’t our government not having enough laws. It’s the individuals who avoid taking responsibility of their own lives and behavior.